Tuesday, March 31, 2009

"Same Gender Loving People - No. 25"


"We Have Fun With Each Other"


Positive images of people like me... The truth of the matter is that we all need to see people like ourselves. So everyday, I'll post a photo, drawing or some other artwork that depicts Same Gender Loving People as what we are... Only Human.

"A Truth Shared..."

An old Cherokee told his grandson about a battle that goes on inside people. He said, "My son, the battle is between two "wolves" inside us all. One is Evil. It is anger, envy, jealousy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority and ego. The other is Good. It is Joy, Peace, Love, Hope, Serenity, Humility, Kindness, Benevolence, Empathy, Generosity, Truth, Compassion and Faith.

The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather: "Which wolf wins?" The old Cherokee simply replied, "The one you feed."



“For Stephen Christopher Harris, because he shared this with me… Was he warning me about which one he'd chosen?”

"Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from religious conviction"

- Blaise Pascal

Monday, March 30, 2009

"The Truth Tonight..."

Thinking of him (them)...



For Barrack, too

"Same Gender Loving People - No. 24"

"Marriage Completed Our Family"


Positive images of people like me... The truth of the matter is that we all need to see people like ourselves. So everyday, I'll post a photo, drawing or some other artwork that depicts Same Gender Loving People as what we are... Only Human.

"The Truth Today..."




"If you love all things, you will also attain the divine mystery that is in all things. For then your ability to perceive the truth will grow every day, and your mind will open itself to an all-embracing love"
-Fyodor Dostoyevsky


“Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring”Johann Sebastian Bach


“Jesu, joy of man’s desiring,
Holy wisdom, love most bright;
Drawn by Thee, our souls aspiring
Soar to uncreated light.

Word of God, our flesh that fashioned,
With the fire of life impassioned,
Striving still to truth unknown,
Soaring, dying round Thy throne.

Through the way where hope is guiding,
Hark, what peaceful music rings;
Where the flock, in Thee confiding,
Drink of joy from deathless springs.

Their's is beauty’s fairest pleasure;
Theirs is wisdom’s holiest treasure.
Thou dost ever lead Thine own
In the love of joys unknown.”

Jesu, Joy Of Man's Desiring (Featuring Lili Haydn Album Version)

For Stephen Christopher Harris

Sunday, March 29, 2009

"Same Gender Loving People - No. 23"

"We Spend Time Together"


Positive images of people like me... The truth of the matter is that we all need to see people like ourselves. So everyday, I'll post a photo, drawing or some other artwork that depicts Same Gender Loving People as what we are... Only Human.

"The Things That Love Says..."

"I would have lost heart, unless I had believed
that I would see the goodness of the Lord
in the land of the living.”
Psalms 27:13
Italic

“Heartaches of a Fool”
Willie Nelson

Started out with the dreams and the plans of a wise man
And ended up with the heartaches of a fool
As a boy, I would walk through the valley
And gaze at the world all around
Made a vow that somehow I would find fame and fortune
Well, I found it, look at me now

I had a sweetheart who would love me forever
I didn’t need her, I would reign all alone
Well look at me I’m a king of a cold lonely castle
The queen of my heart is gone

Gather ‘round me you fools for the dollar
Listen to me, listen you’ll learn
Wealth is happiness and love sent from heaven above
And the fires of ambition will burn
Started out with the dreams and the plans of a wise man
And ended up with the heartaches of a fool







Heartaches Of A Fool - Willie Nelson

Saturday, March 28, 2009

"Same Gender Loving People - No. 22"

"We Trust and Protect Each Other, We Are In Love"


Positive images of people like me... The truth of the matter is that we all need to see people like ourselves. So everyday, I'll post a photo, drawing or some other artwork that depicts Same Gender Loving People as what we are... Only Human.

Friday, March 27, 2009

"The Truth Tonight..."

Believe Ye In Angels…?
“There shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling. For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways.”
Psalm 91:10-11 (King James Version) 

"Same Gender Loving People - No. 21"


"Because We Love Each Other, We Are Truthful"


Positive images of people like me... The truth of the matter is that we all need to see people like ourselves. So everyday, I'll post a photo, drawing or some other artwork that depicts Same Gender Loving People as what we are... Only Human.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

"The Poet's Corner"


“A Question”

By Robert Frost



A voice said, Look me in the stars

And tell me truly, men of earth,

If all the soul-and-body scars

Were not too much to pay for birth.

"The Day Without Gay..."


Last night, I thought about December 10th 2008, if only he wasn't so afraid...

“In the stars is written the death of every man”
Geoffrey Chaucer


I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel To Be Free
By Nina Simone

I wish I knew how
It would feel to be free
I wish I could break
All the chains holdin' me
I wish I could say all the things
That I should say
Say 'em loud
Say 'em clear
For the whole wide world to hear

I wish I could share
All the love that's in my heart
Remove all the bars
That keep us apart
I wish you could know
What it means to be me
Then you'd see
And agree
That every man should be free

I wish I could give
All I'm longin' to give
I wish I could live
Like I'm longin' to live
I wish I could do
All the things that I can do
Oh, I'm way overdue
I'd be startin' anew

Oh, I wish I could be
Like a bird in the sky
How sweet it would be
If I found I could fly
I'd soar to the sun
And look down at the sea
And I'd sing
Cuz I know
And I'd sing
Cuz I'd know
I'd sing
Cuz I'd know
I know how it feels
To be free, yeah
(I wish I knew) To be
(how it feels) I know
(I wish I knew)
How it feels
To be free...




"A life lived in fear is a life half-lived..."

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

"Same Gender Loving People - No. 20"


"We're Not Afraid for the World to Know of Our Love"



Positive images of people like me... The truth of the matter is that we all need to see people like ourselves. So everyday, I'll post a photo, drawing or some other artwork that depicts Same Gender Loving People as what we are... Only Human.

"The Truth Today..."

Charles Kelly and Stephen Christopher Harris

Stephen Christopher Harris and Christopher Flournoy

As I lay awake last night thinking of the 892 days that had passed, I thought about the last "Happy Sunday" in January. It wasn't really "happy," for just below the surface, I was suffering in great pain and anguish as the "Anniversary That Never Was" rapidly approached.

We'd been out to breakfast at I-Hop in Pineville that sunny winter day... We never could go to the I-Hop near the house, I often thought that it was because he'd frequented that one with someone else, or perhaps he was afraid his "friends" might see him there with me. Nevertheless, I was happy to be with him, because true love forgives every slight and heals every wound. After breakfast that Sunday, he actually indulged me in a rare shopping trip. I was looking for some cooking tools to make him a special dessert.

After visiting the mall and several other stores, we arrived at Crate and Barrel. He had gotten warm in the car and wanted to put his coat in the trunk. When I opened it, he saw the briefcase that had his photos in it there in the trunk. I'd actually forgotten putting it there earlier in the week... He didn't say anything right away, but on the way out of the store he finally asked, "Why do you have my pictures in your car." I told him I'd tell him later, and we went on about our way to the next store in search of what I needed. We finally found the right items at William Sonoma and we were off home.

Later that afternoon, as I was preparing dinner, I went out to the car and brought the photos in, putting the briefcase in the hall closet. I don't know if he noticed it there the next day or not. But last night, as I silently recalled that sunny day, I thought about what I had intended to tell him about why I had his photos. I remembered that my plan was to tell him why on the "Anniversary," but fate and "his demons" had other plans for us that day.

This is what I had planned to tell him:

"I was going to give them back to you,Dearest... I just wanted for you to miss them and see what it felt like to have your "memories," (or at least the tangible evidence of them) taken away... For then, you might somewhat understand my pain... the pain you so often said you could so clearly see on my face. For it was two years ago that you took away all my "dreams," and every precious desire of my heart."

As I was haunted in my sleepless ritual of remembering and as the sun rose on the 893rd day, I thought if only I could, I'd ask him, "What became of all your sacred promises, Dearest...?"

As for the "Anniversary That Never Was," I spent it in "solitary confinement" while he spent the day vainly attempting to obliterate the evidence of the promises he'd made. And that is "The Truth Today."

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

"The Truth Tonight..."

Tonight as I lie awake and wonder... I'm remembering the morning and afternoon of December 10th 2008 and the promises Stephen made both before and after...


“Acquainted With The Night”
By Robert Frost

I have been one acquainted with the night.
I have walked out in rain --and back in rain.
I have outwalked the furthest city light.

I have looked down the saddest city lane.
I have passed by the watchman on his beat
And dropped my eyes, unwilling to explain.

I have stood still and stopped the sound of feet
When far away an interrupted cry
Came over houses from another street,

But not to call me back or say good-bye;
And further still at an unearthly height
One luminary clock against the sky

Proclaimed the time was neither wrong nor right.
I have been one acquainted with the night.

"The Artist's Corner"

"Chillin"
William Cashe
Acrylic on Canvas

"Same Gender Loving People - No. 19"


"We Show Our Love"


Positive images of people like me... The truth of the matter is that we all need to see people like ourselves. So everyday, I'll post a photo, drawing or some other artwork that depicts Same Gender Loving People as what we are... Only Human.

"The Poet's Corner"

A Brave and Startling Truth
Maya Angelou


We, this people, on a small and lonely planet
Traveling through casual space
Past aloof stars, across the way of indifferent suns
To a destination where all signs tell us
It is possible and imperative that we learn
A brave and startling truth

And when we come to it
To the day of peacemaking
When we release our fingers
From fists of hostility
And allow the pure air to cool our palms

When we come to it
When the curtain falls on the minstrel show of hate
And faces sooted with scorn are scrubbed clean
When battlefields and coliseum
No longer rake our unique and particular sons and daughters
Up with the bruised and bloody grass
To lie in identical plots in foreign soil

When the rapacious storming of the churches
The screaming racket in the temples have ceased
When the pennants are waving gaily
When the banners of the world tremble
Stoutly in the good, clean breeze

When we come to it
When we let the rifles fall from our shoulders
And children dress their dolls in flags of truce
When land mines of death have been removed
And the aged can walk into evenings of peace
When religious ritual is not perfumed
By the incense of burning flesh
And childhood dreams are not kicked awake
By nightmares of abuse

When we come to it
Then we will confess that not the Pyramids
With their stones set in mysterious perfection
Nor the Gardens of Babylon
Hanging as eternal beauty
In our collective memory
Not the Grand Canyon
Kindled into delicious color
By Western sunsets

Nor the Danube, flowing its blue soul into Europe
Not the sacred peak of Mount Fuji
Stretching to the Rising Sun
Neither Father Amazon nor Mother Mississippi who, without favor,
Nurture all creatures in the depths and on the shores
These are not the only wonders of the world

When we come to it
We, this people, on this minuscule and kithless globe
Who reach daily for the bomb, the blade and the dagger
Yet who petition in the dark for tokens of peace
We, this people on this mote of matter
In whose mouths abide cankerous words
Which challenge our very existence
Yet out of those same mouths
Come songs of such exquisite sweetness
That the heart falters in its labor
And the body is quieted into awe

We, this people, on this small and drifting planet
Whose hands can strike with such abandon
That in a twinkling, life is sapped from the living
Yet those same hands can touch with such healing, irresistible tenderness
That the haughty neck is happy to bow
And the proud back is glad to bend
Out of such chaos, of such contradiction
We learn that we are neither devils nor divines

When we come to it
We, this people, on this wayward, floating body
Created on this earth, of this earth
Have the power to fashion for this earth
A climate where every man and every woman
Can live freely without sanctimonious piety
Without crippling fear

When we come to it
We must confess that we are the possible
We are the miraculous, the true wonder of this world
That is when, and only when
We come to it.

This poem was written and delivered in honor of the 50th anniversary of the United Nations.

© Maya Angelou, from A Brave And Startling Truth
Published by Random House

Monday, March 23, 2009

"Supporters of Same Gender Loving People"




03.23.2009 3:26pm EDT

Recent discussions of various civil-union proposals have revived some familiar questions, including “Why limit such recognition to couples, as opposed to larger groups?” and “Why limit it to romantic/sexual couples, as opposed to other interdependent relationships?”

Such questions come from various quarters, including both friends and foes of marriage equality. Although they’re sometimes offered as “gotcha” challenges, they deserve serious reflection.

I was mulling them over recently when two events occurred that hinted at an answer.
The first was a phone call from my home-security monitoring company about a false alarm I triggered with smoke from a minor kitchen disaster.
“While we have you on the phone,” the operator suggested, “can we update your emergency numbers?”

“Sure,” I said, remembering that some of my listed neighbors had eliminated their land lines.
After going through the numbers, she said, “So, you’ve given me your community patrol number, and numbers for Scott, Sarah, and Mike—all neighbors. But this Mark person—what’s your relationship to him?”

“He’s my partner.”

“Um, roommate?”

“No,” I replied, “partner.”

“I don’t have a box for ‘partner,’” she retorted. “I have a box for ‘roommate.’”

“Fine,” I said, “roommate.” Then I hastily hung up and returned to the kitchen, since I didn’t want my “roommate” to come home to a burned dinner. (Later, I regretted not asking for, and insisting on, the box for “husband.”)

The second event occurred not long afterward, when my high school called asking for a donation for their “Torch Fund” endowment.

Some background: I attended Chaminade, an all-boys Catholic prep school on Long Island. For years I notified them of my various milestones for their newsletter, and for years they declined to publish anything gay-related—publications, awards, whatever—despite their regular listings of the most insipid details of my classmates’ lives.

So now, whenever they ask me for money, I politely tell them where they can stick their Torch. I did so again this time.

“I understand,” the caller replied. “But while I have you on the phone, let me update your records…”

Here we go again, I thought.

Eventually she came to, “Any update in your marital status? Can we list a spouse?”

“Well, you CAN,” I responded testily, “but I suspect you won’t. My spouse’s name is Mark.”

“Why not?” she replied, seeming unfazed. “And his last name?”

I doubt his listing will stand long. But what interested me was this: here was someone representing my conservative high school, and she had a box—in her mind, anyway—for my same-sex spouse.

For all I know, she might be a paid solicitor with no other connection to the school. But she illustrates a significant cultural shift toward recognizing the reality of gay and lesbian lives.

The reality is this: like our straight counterparts, we tend to fall in love, pair off and settle down. It’s not for everyone, but it’s a significant enough pattern to merit acknowledgement.
And that’s at least the germ of an answer to the questions raised above.
Why do we give special legal recognition to romantic pair-bonds? We do so because they’re a significant—and very common—human category, for straights and gays alike. They benefit individuals and society in palpable ways—ways that, on average, “roommates” and most other groupings can’t match.

To put it simply, we recognize them because it makes sense for the law to recognize common and valuable ways that people organize their lives.

Of course, there are other significant human relationships. Some of these, like blood ties, the law already acknowledges. Others (like polygamy) pose serious social costs.
Still others may deserve more legal recognition than they currently receive, or may be dealt with on a case-by-case basis. (I doubt that we need to change marriage or civil-union law to accommodate unrelated cohabitating spinsters, for example.)

But none of these other unrecognized relationships holds a candle to same-sex pair-bonds when it comes to widespread mismatch between the social reality and the legal recognition.
Which brings me back to Mark. Mark is not just some dude I share expenses with. He’s the person I’ve committed my life to, for better or for worse, ’til death do us part. We exchanged such vows publicly, although the law still views us as strangers.

In short, he is—whether the law or our home-security company recognizes it—my spouse.
We fall in love, we pair off, we build lives together. The law may be a blunt instrument, but it need not be so blunt as to call that “roommates.”


*******************************

John Corvino, Ph.D. is an author, speaker, and philosophy professor at Wayne State University in Detroit. His column “The Gay Moralist” appears Fridays on 365gay.com.
For more about John Corvino, or to see clips from his “What’s Morally Wrong with Homosexuality?” DVD, visit http://www.johncorvino.com/.

"Same Gender Loving People - No. 18"


"We've Served in Every Branch and in Every War"


Positive images of people like me... The truth of the matter is that we all need to see people like ourselves. So everyday, I'll post a photo, drawing or some other artwork that depicts Same Gender Loving People as what we are... Only Human.

"The Poet's Corner"


"In Memoriam"
By George Santayana

With you a part of me hath passed away;
For in the peopled forest of my mind
A tree made leafless by this wintry wind
Shall never don again its green array.

Chapel and fireside, country road and bay,
Have something of their friendliness resigned;
Another, if I would, I could not find,
And I am grown much older in a day.

But yet I treasure in my memory
Your gift of charity, and young hearts ease,
And the dear honour of your amity;
For these once mine, my life is rich with these.

And I scarce know which part may greater be,--
What I keep of you, or you rob from me.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

"Same Gender Loving People - No. 17"


"We Love Our Children"


Positive images of people like me... The truth of the matter is that we all need to see people like ourselves. So everyday, I'll post a photo, drawing or some other artwork that depicts Same Gender Loving People as what we are... Only Human.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

"My Song for Tonight..."

Sukiyaki
Performed by Kyu Sakamoto

(Words by Rokusuke Ei, music by Hachidai Nakamura)
Released in Japan as "Ue O Muite Aruko" (I Look Up When I Walk)

No. 1 - Billboard Top 100, 1963

Phonetic Japanese Lyrics

ue o muite arukou
namida ga kobore naiyouni
omoidasu harunohi
hitoribotchi no yoru

ue o muite arukou
nijinda hosi o kazoete
omoidasu natsunohi
hitoribotchi no yoru

shiawase wa kumo no ueni
shiawase wa sora no ueni

ue o muite arukou
namida ga kobore naiyouni
nakinagara aruku
hitoribotchi no yoru

whistling

omoidasu akinohi
hitoribotchi no yoru

kanashimi wa hosino kageni
kanashimi wa tsukino kageni

ue o muite arukou
namida ga kobore naiyouni
nakinagara aruku
hitoribotchi no yoru

whistling


Literal English Translation

I look up when I walk so the tears won't fall
Remembering those happy spring days
But tonight I'm all alone

I look up when I walk, counting the stars with tearful eyes
Remembering those happy summer days
But tonight I'm all alone

Happiness lies beyond the clouds
Happiness lies above the sky

I look up when I walk so the tears won't fall
Though my heart is filled with sorrow
For tonight I'm all alone

whistling

Remembering those happy autumn days
But tonight I'm all alone

Sadness hides in the shadow of the stars
Sadness lurks in the shadow of the moon

I look up when I walk so the tears won't fall
Though my heart is filled with sorrow
For tonight I'm all alone

whistling




"The Truth Today..."



Today was one of the hardest days of recent memory. As I write this, I'm sitting in bed recalling the events of the last 889 days. "Ali: Fear Eats the Soul" is in the DVD player and watching it is strangely painful... I guess it reminds me of he and I. I've said my prayers for the evening, but just now I wonder, what will be my prayers tomorrow?

"Same Gender Loving People - No. 16"


"We Work in Every Profession"


Positive images of people like me... The truth of the matter is that we all need to see people like ourselves. So everyday, I'll post a photo, drawing or some other artwork that depicts Same Gender Loving People as what we are... Only Human.

Friday, March 20, 2009

"Four Hundred Ninety Times..."


"On Forgiveness"


Matthew 18:21-22 (New King James Version)

21 Then Peter came to Him and said, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Up to seven times?”
22 Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.

"Same Gender Loving People - No. 15"


"We Share Our Interests"


Positive images of people like me... The truth of the matter is that we all need to see people like ourselves. So everyday, I'll post a photo, drawing or some other artwork that depicts Same Gender Loving People as what we are... Only Human.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

"Change Is A Good Thing..."


Gay marriage gets recognition - in the dictionary
By The Associated Press
03.19.2009 9:08am EDT
San Francisco, California

Same-sex marriage might not be recognized in most states, but it is in the dictionary.

Merriam-Webster included a secondary definition of marriage to recognize same-sex relationships several years before gay couples were allowed to tie the knot anywhere in the United States, but the change had gone largely unnoticed until the conservative World Net Daily news site reported it Tuesday.

“One of the nation’s most prominent dictionary companies has resolved the argument over whether the term ‘marriage’ should apply to same-sex duos or be reserved for the institution that has held families together for millennia: by simply writing a new definition,” World Net wrote in an online story published Tuesday.

In its Web and print editions, Merriam-Webster defines marriage as “the state of being united to a person of the opposite sex as husband or wife in a consensual and contractual relationship recognized by law.”

But in a nod to evolving ideas of love and English usage, the Springfield, Mass.-based company in 2003 added a secondary meaning for “marriage” as “the state of being united to a person of the same sex in a relationship like that of a traditional marriage.”

Merriam-Webster said in a statement Wednesday that the edited entry merely reflected the frequency with which the term “same-sex marriage” had popped up in print and become part of the general lexicon.

“Its inclusion was a simple matter of providing dictionary users with accurate information about all of the word’s current uses,” the company said, adding that it was surprised by the recent attention because it was “neither news nor unusual.”

“We were one of the last ones among the major dictionary publishers to do this,” said Merriam-Webster spokesman Arthur Bicknell.

Boston-based Houghton-Mifflin, publisher of the American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, modified its definition of marriage in 2000, adding a fourth example to the entry: “A union between two persons having the customary but usually not the legal force of marriage: a same-sex marriage.”

The Oxford English Dictionary this month added in a draft version that the term sometimes refers to “long-term relationships between partners of the same sex.” Its editors also have proposed updating the primary sense of the word to mean “the condition of being a husband or wife; the relation between persons married to each other; matrimony.”

The dictionary’s main entry for marriage, last updated in 1989, reads, “The condition of being a husband or wife; the relation between married persons; spousehood, wedlock.”

Only two states in the country legally recognize gay marriage: Connecticut and Massachusetts.

"Coming Out - There's Something I Want to Tell You, Son"




Originally published on Yahoo 360, April 20, 2007


These last couple of years have been quite a journey for me. Along the way, I discovered the joyful freedom of truth as well as at long last, the exquisite pain of love. Almost a year ago now, I decided that having accepted the truth of myself after allowing half of my life to pass me by, I would not let the truth of my heart be a secret to those I love and care about. I came out to my father, my brothers, my sisters, the nieces and nephews, and most importantly, to myself. But there was still one important person that I had not allowed to know the truth of me, at least not as fully as the others; that person is my son.

How it is that I have a son is in and of itself quite a story to tell… Although there are some who don’t believe in God, and some who believe but don’t think he answers our prayers, I can tell you that I am not one of them. My son is a testimony that God lives and that He loves us, and indeed, that He hears and answers our prayers when they are meant for us. Many, many years ago, when I was yet a young boy, when I thought in silence and fear that I’d never know the joy of a mate, or of children and a family, God heard my prayer about this and He knew how much I wanted to be a father. In a way that I still find miraculous, He brought my son Marvin into my life. They say that God moves in mysterious ways, and it is indeed true…

I met my son when he was ten years old… it was two weeks before he and his brother, sister and mother were to be baptized. They would be joining the congregation of the branch of the church that I led as its president and priesthood leader. I remember quite well that in him I immediately saw something different… I actually felt something different, something deeper than just the spirit of fellowship. I knew instantly that in some way, though we’d never met before, we were connected to one another in a very real and unfathomable way. At his baptism, I remember being greatly moved when afterwards as I joined the elders in laying hands upon his head to confer the Gift of the Spirit, I felt that connection again and much more strongly. It was as if I felt God’s hand upon my shoulder as I laid my hand upon the head of the boy who would become my son as surely as if he had been the fruit of my own loins.

In the weeks and months that followed, Marvin became my little shadow at church. He reverenced me as a child does his father. He made me more than his spiritual leader; he sought my advice and counsel for his young life and indeed my love as the father-figure he’d never known. On Sundays, he’d often anticipate what I wanted to happen in the meetings… no sooner than I’d think of it, I’d look around and he’d be doing it or enlisting the aid of the other youth or even the adults to make it happen though I’d not spoken a word about it. Before long, he even began to look like me as he adopted my style of dress and my speech and mannerisms…

His mother told me of how much he admired me. How he spoke of me all the time at home. She said, “He does everything like you… he even walks and talks like you now.” And she expressed her appreciation of me taking the time to try to help her family. She invited me to her home and I went with my counselors to teach the lessons that husbands and fathers would normally teach their wives and children. Of the children and his mother, Marvin was the one who actually listened most intently and tried to live the precepts of the gospel that we were teaching them. Although he was just a boy, and younger than his brother, soon he was the man of his mother’s house. I was humbled that God had used me as an instrument for good in his life and that of his family.

In his young life, my son and his family had endured many terrible hardships. The influences of a broken home, crippling poverty, gang violence, drugs, and worse were all a part of his reality. But somehow, one day he decided as I did when I was a boy, to choose a different path. As he became an example for his own family, it seemed that the Adversary would not rest in trying to destroy him. At one point, his entire family was homeless and on the street. I took them all into my home until his mother could get back on her feet. Then tragedy struck again. His mother was diagnosed with cancer and faced a very poor prognosis. I watched and prayed as she prepared for the end of her life. She sought homes for her children and I was shocked when in the case of Marvin, she came to ask if I would take him and raise him up for her.

Although Marvin’s mother had arranged for several members of her extended family to take in her children, she told me that Marvin had come to her and asked if he could be my son when she died. She told me that she said to him, she felt that I should have been and that she would ask me. I’ve never forgotten that Sunday afternoon when his mother came to me. She explained that she had nothing to give to me except her eternal thanks. She said she had prayed about it and she believed I would be a good father to her son. I said yes, and Marvin came to live with me and I grew to love him as my own son.

In the beginning, it was not an easy thing to do, to love a child not your own, but as your own. Slings and arrows came from many including my own family who thought I was being foolish to take on such responsibilities. But my faith in God and that He had in His plan given me a heart able to do so was strong. I grew to love Marvin unconditionally and as my own, and he has loved me as his father ever since… Indeed, God had answered my prayer about wanting a family to love and to be loved by. Together, we overcame the influence of the Adversary and my son grew up to righteous manhood. Today, I am proud of him in so many ways. He is a man of great faith… He served an honorable mission for the church and serves faithfully in his church calling today. When he left home for college, I was happier than on the day I myself graduated from college, I had done what many including my own mother doubted could be done. I am very proud of my son and his accomplishments.

My son met and married his wife in college. They’ve been married about a year and half now. Attending his wedding as his father was one of the happiest days of my entire life. This January, he became a father in his own right when his daughter, McKenzie was born. I’ve just returned from visiting him and his wife and my granddaughter. The joy of holding my son’s baby in my arms was an amazing thing… In the midst of great sorrow in my life at the moment, I found I could believe that perhaps the world will endure… and perhaps me with it.

As I said, I’ve come out to my entire family with the exception of my beloved son. Although in truth, I’ve been trying to prepare him for the news for sometime… I’ve dropped little hints about it for some time now. I have been blessed to have met the man I know to be my soul mate. I have spoken of him to my son during our phone calls many times. I even told my son that I was for the first time in my life, truly in love. What I didn’t reveal was that the “love of my life” is a man as I am. In my conversations with my son about him, I would carefully chose neutered pronouns and avoid giving too many details about the greatest love of my life. After those phone calls I was often very sad, being worried that perhaps my son might reject me if he knew the whole truth. Nevertheless, I resolved to tell him the truth when we were together again, face to face and man to man.

I wanted to speak privately with him about it, but we were never alone during my visit until the last morning. He and his wife had taken time off from work to spend it with me during my visit. But on the morning I was leaving to return home, his wife went back to work and so as we sat recalling how lovely my visit had been and as I watched how wonderfully he cared for his little daughter, with a prayer in my heart, I summoned up my courage. I was surprised that I was still truly afraid to tell him, but my fear was not unfounded. My son is very obedient to the teachings of the church which is how I raised him. The church takes a very hard stance against homosexuality. In fact, despite my many years of good and faithful service in the priesthood and as a leader, I was cast out and excommunicated when I confessed the truth of my heart.

As I sat across from my son, watching him cuddle his baby girl, I finally said to him, “There’s something I want to tell you, Son.” After a very long pause, I finally said, “I’m afraid to tell you though… Do you have any idea what it might be…?” He looked at me as if he could see into my heart and said, “I don’t know, Pop, but I see it’s worrying you.” “Are you sick? Do you have diabetes or something?” I smiled a weak smile as I told him, “No, it’s nothing like that… it’s about my “significant other” that I’ve been telling you about.” “I’m not sure you’ll be able to accept what I need to tell you…” “Just tell me. Pop.” I said, “I guess a picture does speak a thousand words…” And with that, I handed him a picture of my love and I standing in front of the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia. To my surprise, all my son said was, “Is this him?” “Yes, that’s Stephen, the one I love.” “Okay Pop, as long as you’re happy.”

It was then time for me to go, the drive to the airport at Salt Lake City would take an hour or so and my plane was leaving in a little under two hours. As I stood to say goodbye, with tears nearly overflowing my eyes, my son handed me my little granddaughter… He placed his strong hand on my shoulder as I clutched his little one, saying, “Don’t worry, Pop, I love you and its okay with me.” I handed little McKenzie back to him as I hugged and kissed them both. I said, “Please pray for me, Son and know that I love you…” “Take good care of your wife and baby, you are more richly blessed than you will ever truly know… Goodbye Son, I’ll call you when I get home.”

On the drive down through the mountains to the Great Salt Lake basin, the beauty of the majestic peaks shrouded in the clouds and capped with snow reminded me that God is great. As I drove, I remembered all the sore trials and tribulations of a life I’d only half lived; of truths only half told. A few tears fell for some of the painful days I recalled. But then I sent up a silent little prayer of thanks that God had heard my prayers so long ago. As I boarded the plane and took my seat, I closed my eyes and I prayed again for the last and greatest gift I seek of my Father in Heaven… He knows the most precious desire of my heart… I don’t believe He will forsake me, He never has.

"The Things That Love Says..."


This Is the Meaning of Love

By Emily Matthews

Someone who makes you feel
good about living,
Who brings out the you
who is joyful and giving –
This is the meaning of love.

Something that give you
a chance to be strong,
Or trust in another
to help you along –
This is the meaning of love.

Somewhere that you feel like
you’ve been forever –
A place where you’re growing
and learning together –
This is the meaning of love.

All that I am,
All that I see,
All that I dream and I do
are better and brighter
and filled with more meaning
because of my feelings for you.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

"The Artist's Corner"


"A New Day Has Come"
Steven Walker
Acrylic on Canvas

"Same Gender Loving People - No. 14"


"We Commit Ourselves in Marriage"


Positive images of people like me... The truth of the matter is that we all need to see people like ourselves. So everyday, I'll post a photo, drawing or some other artwork that depicts Same Gender Loving People as what we are... Only Human.


Tuesday, March 17, 2009

"Same Gender Loving People - No. 13"


"We Share in the Joys of the World"

Positive images of people like me... The truth of the matter is that we all need to see people like ourselves. So everyday, I'll post a photo, drawing or some other artwork that depicts Same Gender Loving People as what we are... Only Human.

"Coming Out - The Missionaries"


Originally published on Yahoo 360, November 16, 2006



I’m still traveling on this road I set off on back on August 15th when I shared the reality of my life and my heart with my father. It was hard to tell my dad that I was gay, but there were others I needed to tell as well and I knew it would be difficult to come out to them too. Amongst the others, there was of course my eldest sister, Ora Jean who has had the hardest time accepting it. But now, there are only a few left who I feel should know, but that I haven’t told yet. Among those I still need to tell are some of my few remaining friends, including the missionaries that taught me the gospel many years ago.

I once belonged to a faith community that gave my life much meaning in the absence of the hope for love. I greatly enjoyed being a part of something larger than me; something that spoke to what I felt in my heart about God’s plan for His children. I believed in virtually all of the tenets of my chosen faith, except one; that homosexuality is a sin and an abomination. When I would ponder that one exception, I would think, “Why would God condemn any of his children in that way, it couldn’t be true… What loving father would do such a thing?”

I was a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (The Mormons). The Mormon Church believes that those who act on homosexual feelings, or for that matter, even confess to having had such feeling whether acted upon or not, are to be condemned and cast out from amongst the “Saints…” This was my eventual fate, despite years of faithful service as a leader in the priesthood. I was no Moses, but I tried to be… I denied the truth of my heart for 40 years and when finally I acknowledged it, I knew the time would not be far off before I would have to leave the church which I had loved. That time came last year when I realized that I could not lie about what was true any longer.

I never believed the church was right about its stance on homosexuality; after all, I understood what it felt like to have such feelings and I knew where they came from… “The heart.” And as these feeling have always been in my heart, I knew it was not some “choice” I had made; it was simply the way that God had created me. The thing that I did choose was how I would deal with the truth of my own creation… After many years of doubt and struggle, persecution and fear, I finally came to know that my Heavenly Father made me as I am, and though I tried to be what the leaders of the church said all men should be; I knew it was a lie in respect to what I felt in my heart. I have always believed my path was set even before I came to earth. And so I was glad that while I was serving as a leader in the church, I was never called upon to cast out one like myself, for that would have been the greatest of my hypocrisies and I know I could never have done it.

Like the majority of members of the LDS church, I was a convert to Mormonism. The LDS church sends thousands of young men and women out on missions throughout the world each year to preach and teach the "restored gospel of Jesus Christ." The young men who give two years of their lives between ages 19 and 30 are called “Elders” in recognition of the priesthood office which they hold. Like hundreds of thousands before me, two elders visiting my home invited me to be taught the gospel and to be baptized and begin a new life in Christ.

Although I’d been a sometimes churchgoer and had a good understanding of the scriptures even before I was taught by the missionaries, it was not until I came to understand the gospel from the Mormon perspective that I felt comfortable in my own beliefs. It wasn’t really that I adopted the beliefs of the LDS church so much as it was that I found that what I always believed was essentially the same as Mormon doctrine. And so, it was easy for me to accept the truths that I was being taught by the “elders” who were so much younger than me at the time. I felt that finally, God was bringing me an opportunity to fellowship with people who shared my same beliefs and faith. So having been taught Mormon doctrine and accepting the invitation to be baptized and confirmed a member of the church by the elders, I began a journey that eventually led me to marry and serve as a branch president and priesthood leader in the church.

And as with most converts to the church, my relationship with the elders who taught and baptized me although brief at first, became one that has endured for a lifetime. I have recognized and celebrated the milestones of their lives as I’ve kept in touch with them over the years. Though the missionaries are often from other parts of the world than where they serve their mission, it is not uncommon for them to stay in touch and become friends with their converts as time goes on, this was the case with me. And out of the blue after not hearing much from him in the last few years, I got an email from the elder who confirmed me a member of the church following my baptism 12 years ago. Elder Beutler, and his mission companion Elder Ronk, who baptized me, were wonderfully spirit-filled young men, who taught the gospel with power and authority. Over the years, I’ve kept in touch with Elder Ronk, including when he married last year, but I’ve not heard from Elder Beutler as much until now. I got this email from him.

Yahoo! Mail


Christopher,

I hope you can forgive me for losing contact with you. I have never been good at correspondence, but that is no excuse. I think of you often and the great experience we shared when we were led to you that day more than 11 years ago. That was one of the best experiences of my life. I know I was sent to Detroit to find you. I don't know how you've been or anything about you for the last decade. I hope you are doing well. It turns out that Gray Ronk and I ended up working for the same company. What a small world! I am a Civil Engineer and he is an IT guy.

I have been married for almost 11 years and have 4 children; Allison (wife), Samantha (9), Gillian (8), Elliot (almost 5), and Henry (2). We live in Arizona. We've been in our new house for 2 years now and love it there.

I have wanted to come back to Detroit for quite some time now, but haven't been able to make that happen. With a family of six it makes it tough. I hope after all this time we can remain in contact and keep in touch with each other. I truly miss your friendship. I talk about you often with my wife and I know she would love to meet you.

Here is my contact info:

XXXXXXXXXXXXXX

XXXXXXX, AZ 00000

xxxx@xxxxxxx.com

Just writing this email brings back a flood of memories. I hope to talk to you soon.


Shortly after receiving this email from my old friend, and before I could even respond, he called me and we had a lovely, long talk about his life since he completed his mission for the church here in Detroit. I really enjoyed learning of his life. I felt so happy for him, he has a loving wife and four beautiful children; a wonderful life from what I could tell. In fact, as I listened to my old friend, I realized he was living the life that I once dreamed I might live. And even though I knew then, as I know now, the life he’s living could never be mine… not really, I couldn’t help but entertain the “what ifs” in my mind as I listened to him describe his joys in life.

Nathan talked about the experiences that we’d had when he was a missionary here in Detroit and of how he’d told his wife about my hospitality and my love for my family. Then Nathan got around to asking about my life; Was I active in church? Did my wife and I have any children…? At first I was at a loss for words to tell him of how much my life, my hopes, and my dreams had changed from what he knew them to once be. I wondered what he’d think of me, but more importantly, I wondered how learning of the outcome of my involvement with the church would affect him and his testimony of his missionary service. As we talked and he asked more and more questions that I tried to avoid answering, I decided that I’d have to come out to him as well.

We’d talked for perhaps 35 or 40 minutes when I finally decided to tell him some of what had transpired in my life over the last dozen or so years. I told him that no, I was not active in the church that I’d grown to love so quickly after he had introduced me to it. I shared with him that my marriage had been a terrible mistake that was short lived and tragic for both she and I. I told him about losing my mother, finding my father, and of my career since he’d known me. What I didn’t tell him about was the one thing that had influenced all the others in so many profound ways… that I was gay.

I could tell Nathan was frustrated by my carefully coached answers about my life. I promised him that I’d share more about what had been going on in my life and explain the things that I was so obviously leaving out of my conversation with him that day. I promised him that I’d write him soon. It was about a month ago that we talked and I’ve thought about our conversation often. He always knew me to be a man of my word and so I’m sure he’s wondering why he’s not heard from me. I’ve always liked to say of myself, “My word is my bond…” So, after some prayerful thought, I’ve decided to share the truth of my life with my dear friend, the one who helped me deepen my love and understanding of my Heavenly Father. Having decided that I would continue to be true to my word, especially with those I love and care about, this is what I’ve written to Nathan.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Detroit, Michigan

Dear Nathan,

I’m sorry that it’s taken me this long to write to you as I promised when we last talked. I think my reticence was due to my not knowing how you’d respond to what I’m going to tell you. Moreover, dear friend, I was concerned about how what I will share with you may affect you personally. So first and foremost, let me say this, I love you my friend… I appreciate the great gift of the restored gospel that you brought to my life; my testimony of it is stronger today than at any other time in my life. I know our Heavenly Father well and I know His will for my life now. Thank you for being the instrument in His hands through which He worked miracles in my life. Despite all that has happened in my life, I would not change what you did for me.

When we talked, you asked about my involvement in the church. I revealed to you that I was not active, but the fact of the matter is that I am no longer a member of the church. Unfortunately, my leaving the church was not my desire, but was inevitable and unavoidable in light of the realities of my life and my heart. While I could, I served faithfully and gave my best to the Lord’s church and to His followers, my brothers and sisters. However, there came a time in my life as in every life, when the truth of things must rule and reign. Having accepted my truth, though I miss the church with every fiber of my being, I am at peace now. Perhaps someday, in the Lord’s time, He will reveal a new understanding for the church that might permit my return; I sincerely pray for that day to come.

To begin, Nathan, I want to thank you for the selfless love, care, and concern you have shown for me. I want to thank you for so faithfully following the Spirit in bringing the gospel to me. I want to thank you for remembering me and keeping me in your thoughts and prayers. I want to thank you for loving the Lord as you do and sacrificing the time that you did to find me and to help me… I’ve never forgotten those days. Though I have been remiss in keeping in touch with you, I always loved and appreciated you for it and I’ve kept you in my thoughts and prayers ever since.

I don’t doubt that you are wondering why I have had to leave the church…? I will tell you, Nathan… and I hope that upon knowing these things which I am about to reveal, you will not think any less of me. Throughout my life and especially as a boy and then as a young man, I was very fearful of people’s reactions to what I am about to tell you… I thought I would be hated or perhaps even destroyed by those who cannot or will not try to understand. I pray you will try to understand as you read what I’m going to share.

This may surprise you to hear, Nathan, but I have lived a very miserable life… None of the things I’ve done, and there were many wonderful things, including my service in the church, fulfilled the most precious desire of my heart in this life. For the whole of my life, I have longed to love and be loved by another. I can remember how as a little boy I would talk about this desire; I would say how I wanted to be married forever? I knew that truth even then… This was the thing that I most wanted out of my life, but it always escaped my grasp

As to why…? For all of my life, I have struggled inwardly with a terrible secret… It’s been like an affliction that at times tainted every part of my life… one that for a time caused me to feel that I was cursed by God. I was “different” from other men all my life… Perhaps you even thought this about me at some point…? I only recently was able to come to grips with the fact that I was born a “Same Gender Loving” man (I don’t think I would call myself “gay,” as that means something very different to me and to the world). But, because of these deep-seated and innate feeling I’ve had for as long as I can remember, I was in a state of endless torment over them throughout my life.

Nathan, for years, I tried in vain to suppress this and force myself to be something that I wasn’t. Trying to live such a lie was very hard to do… Always lying to myself and to others for so many, many years about my innermost feelings was very painful and difficult to bear. Trying to deny those feelings that had always been with me was a living hell… No amount of praying and fasting changed it in any meaningful way. I will tell you that the first time I can remember knowing for sure that I was “different” in this way, was as early as when I was just 5 years old in kindergarten.

It was around that time that my mother became aware of this thing about me, after an incident in kindergarten one day. Another little boy asked me to pull down my pants and show him my bottom and I happily did so, and I knew he was asking me this in a sexually curious way and I liked it and it seemed natural to me... The teacher caught us and I remember to this day how her abhorrent looks made me so incredibly afraid of what was going to happen to me.

The teacher pinned a note on my shirt addressed to my mother and I feared that I would be hated by even her when she read it. I cried so hard through the rest of the class that my sides ached and my whole body trembled with fear. I don’t remember who brought me home from school that day, but when my mom saw the state I was in, she picked me up in her arms as I cried inconsolably and just held me close to her. When she saw the tear-stained note pinned on my shirt, she took it off and read it. And it was as I saw her expressions change that I felt as if I had hurt my mother terribly and I began to cry even more.

My mother carried me to her rocking chair and just held and soothed me until I stopped crying… Then, in the sweetest voice, she said, “You must never do that again, promise Mommy…” And when I realized she didn’t hate me for what I had done and she still loved me, I was so relieved. I promised my mother that I would not do it again… But Nathan, even at the tender age of five, and at a time when children were far more innocent than they are today, I knew I’d be condemned for what I was feeling and for what I had done. It was a terrible feeling for a five year old. And so, from that day at age five in the autumn of 1969 until May of 2004, when my mother passed away, I never let myself act on my feelings. I was determined to keep that promise to my mother.

Nathan, I don’t know if you can imagine what it was like for me growing up with these feelings, knowing the world would condemn me for them while also knowing I couldn’t change them… They were just always there and always a part of me… It was a fearful existence and a life filled with pain and anguish. I always feared someone would find out what was in my heart… these feelings that I couldn’t control and that I knew people would say were not “normal.” I believed God was punishing me, so I was careful not to think any thoughts about love and sex at all, and especially at the time in a boy’s life that his thoughts turn to such things naturally.

And as time passed, I learned a great lesson about the life I would have to live… I learned to always be watchful of my reactions… to hide my true feelings, to lie always about what was true in my heart. This made life as a boy very painful for me, so much so that I once attempted suicide when I was in middle school. My belief that I was somehow less than worthy combined with the realization that I was one of the “loathsome and hated creatures” that people would call a “fag” and “queer” and worse things made me lose all will to live, even at so young an age.

I hated to go to school as a boy… somehow, I guess it showed that I was “different” and I was taunted and ridiculed by the other children, boys, and girls alike. It caused me incredible grief for many years. My father never understood why I wouldn’t go to school and he’d beat me almost everyday because of it. I remember how I much preferred his whippings over those cruel children’s taunts and jeers… The pain from his belt would go away soon enough… the welts would disappear. But, the pain caused by my tormenters at school is still fresh in my mind and right here with me today as I am writing this… The cuts and bruises they inflicted on my soul never fully healed.

Later in my life, after I left school in the ninth grade, I felt more able to cope and after years of inner-struggle, prayer, sore trials, and coming to the church, I felt I could compromise the truth of my own heart… that I could control and lock away that something “different” that made me as I am. And, I began to think that instead, I could “learn” to live as a “normal” man or at least deal with it by living my life as a celibate man. Nathan, I will tell you that those were very desperate, lonely, dark, and painful years for me. But, eventually, I thought I had overcome all, I had suppressed it… I thought with God’s help my “different” feelings were no longer allowed to rise in my mind. I learned to relate to women, even though I felt little or no attraction to them and so I finally started to date women.

Then came the culmination of all my prayers to God to “please make me normal,” my marriage in the church to a woman I tried so hard to love with all my might. My wife’s name was Trudy, and, I think if she had been a sincere woman (she was not), I would have been able to live a more or less “normal” life for a time, even though it would nevertheless have been a great lie to what lived in my heart. I even convinced myself that the other things that would come of living such a lie could compensate for me denying my true feelings. Nathan, I so wanted to be “normal…” to just be respected as a man… I believed that I could find enough fulfillment in becoming a loving husband and father and in raising up a family. But, alas, it was not to be… Trudy married me with her own ulterior motives in mind and my plans and her’s fell apart almost immediately. She got what she wanted from me, what little I had… As for me, I got a lot more pain and misery.

And after my wife took what little I had, I didn’t care anymore for material things. I didn’t care much for life either having tried and failed to live a lie… And yet still, everywhere I went I could see what I wanted all around me, happy families and loving couples. At times, I was so distraught that I felt I could not go on, thoughts of suicide reigned in my mind for years on end. As time passed and my misery grew, I became more and more convinced that surely God was punishing me for something I couldn’t help… but I was nevertheless always willing to accept that His reasons are not always known to us, but that they are never without a purpose.

After being divorced from Trudy, for many years I was unhappily contented to be alone… to resign myself again to live as a celibate man… During those years, it was a terribly lonely and unhappy existence for me and I know that at times, it showed in my countenance all to well. But, it was my compromise with God and with the ways of mankind and a necessity of my promise to my mother from so many years before. And so, it was not until 2004, after my mother died… that I finally let myself entertain the notion of acting on the feelings that I had tried to suppress for nearly forty years.

I met a kind man whose struggles with being this way were similar to my own. For a time, I came to love this man as I imagine other men love the one’s they want to marry and he said he felt the same way about me. And at that instant, and for the first time in my life, I felt free and at peace with myself… I was in love for perhaps the first time in my life and it felt natural and right to me. It wasn’t the bitter compromise of so many years before… and it wasn’t trying to live a lie and be something I wasn’t. It just felt right in my heart and in my soul.

Unfortunately, it didn’t work out for us. I think because we were both afraid of what people might think and do to us if someone found out. And so, because of the way things are in the world, we realized that the sacrifices we’d have to make in order to be together would be very great… we would have to hide our love for one another or be subjected to ridicule and disapproval at the least, from even family and loved ones, and perhaps even death at the hands of some crazed homophobe. And, there was also the issue of dealing with the distance (he lived in Kansas), and the long times of being apart. In the end, trying to deal with it all proved to be more than either of us could handle at such a fragile time in our lives. We had only just discovered and accepted the truth of who we really were. And so, as quickly as “love” that felt so right and natural came into my life… it all too quickly departed and I was alone.

So again, I thought… I should go back to the way things were… just be alone and celibate, for maybe God just didn’t intend for me to have the precious desire of my heart, someone to love, and I thought I must accept that. But Nathan, I was so sad, more so than ever before in my life… so miserable and in such great pain in my heart and soul that I thought I couldn’t carry on much longer. Then came my 41st birthday... I hadn’t noticed passing 40, not really, I was both mourning the loss of my mother and in love with my friend then. But that year, it rang deep within my heart as I sat all alone in the dark on my birthday that lonely Saturday night… I realized that my life was at least half over with and I had not found my soul mate, or even love to last for more than a very short while. Then, as I was thinking aloud and talking to God about why my life had been as it was, I realized that He did not want me to be alone, nor was the way He made me a mistake. And as I prayed, I realized that I was to continue my search for the one that He intended for me. It was a new revelation about my life and that God did not want me to be alone and unhappy.

Having realized after so many years that God loves me as I am, I set out to find the one that He intended for me to be with. So for the last two years, I’ve been searching the world for him. I recently have come to know that I have found him and that has brought my life a fullness of joy. Yet along the way, I realized that the church would not accept me as I am. Having served as a leader, I knew all too well what the consequences of my revelation would be. And so, to make a long story short, as you also know, because of being as God saw fit to create me, I am no longer a member of the church that I love.

Nathan, I miss church so very much… but in the end, I had to choose to accept myself for what God made me, I am a man. But He created my heart for another man and not a woman. I will tell you that I have pondered about why He would do this in my case and with so many others for many years; I have prayed for most of my life to understand without any answer. In my own heart, I suspect that perhaps it is to teach us and others to be tolerant of one another and to love unconditionally as Jesus taught, but it is still the great question of my life. Nevertheless, I am now happier than I have ever been in my entire life.

But despite my happiness, when I accepted that I am as God has made me, I quickly learned that many who are like me have been deceived by the Adversary. I found so much about the way people deal with this reality to be repulsive. Being forced to hide your true self and outwardly live a lie for the world is damaging to the soul… it cripples us emotionally and it leads to the type of life in which you don’t love… you can’t love and you just move from one sex partner to another sometimes without even knowing their names, all in the hope of finding just a moment’s comfort in believing someone cares for you. I don’t believe in that and I’ve refused to live my life that way. I have waited a lifetime for the one that I have found and will love for “time and all eternity…” Despite what the church believes and teaches about this, I believe God has revealed to me that he intends this for me as well.

I hope that learning of this has not diminished your testimony about your mission… I am and will always be thankful for the gift that you and Gray brought to my life. I am still the same man that I was then. I still love our Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus Christ. I still love His church. I still love and care about my fellow man. I still care about you; you are my friend, indeed I love you and will never forget what you did for me. I hope that we will still be friends and that you will still remember me fondly and keep me in your thoughts and prayers as I have kept you and will continue to do.

My Dear Friend… Worry not for me, for I am confident and secure that God’s grace goes with me. He has blessed me to be able to accept myself as He has made me… All is well with my soul. He has blessed me with a companion and a helpmate and I am loved. I am no longer ashamed of who I am, do feel free to share this with Gray if you choose to do so. Live and be well My Dear Friend.

May God continue to bless and keep you,

Christopher


I hope that my old friend will take this news well and will somehow be able to remain my friend despite the doctrine of the church that we once both belonged to. And so now, there are only a few others that I will share the truth of my heart with. Of these, the most important will be my son, Marvin. He and his wife are living in Utah where he is attending college. They are expecting their first child at the end of December. I am planning to tell my son sometime after the first of the year, when I go to visit he and his wife and the new baby. I’ve been thinking long and hard about exactly how I will tell him. I am not fearful of being rejected by him, but I am concerned that he may have a hard time reconciling his feelings about it with his faith and belief in the doctrines of the church. My prayer will be that he can accept me as I have accepted myself and understand as I do, that I am only as God has made me.

November 28th 2006

I heard back from my friend Nathan... I was not surprised by what he had to say about my revelation. But, I was thankful that he expressed his continued love for me. Here is his response:

Yahoo! Mail

Dear Christopher,

I thank you for taking the time to respond to my email. I'm sure it wasn't easy for you to tell me the things you did in your letter. Let me just preface my response to your letter by saying that I consider you now and always my friend. Nonetheless, it saddens my heart to think of the struggles that you have gone through and to know that you no longer enjoy the blessings of membership in the Lord's church. Key among these blessings is the Gift of the Holy Ghost. I can say with all the sincerity of my heart that nothing would bring me greater pain and misery than the loss of this Great Companionship. No amount of prayer or desire will bring the comfort and peace that the sweet whisperings of the Spirit will bring as a constant companion.

I don't even pretend to claim to understand what you have gone through in your life, but I do know the Lord loves you as do I. I do not agree with the choices you have made and will never condone anything that is contrary to the gospel of Jesus Christ, but I will also never judge you or pretend that I am perfect and without the need of the atonement. I need it everyday!!

You stated, "Perhaps someday, in the Lord*s time, He will reveal a new understanding for the church that might permit my return; I sincerely pray for that day to come." Although I am sure you are sincere when you say this, the Lord teaches that it is up to us, with His help, to overcome the natural man and live in obedience to the laws of the gospel. Most other churches would agree with you that it is up to the church to change with the times, but the Lord will not change His doctrine. He may allow others to enjoy the blessings of the gospel that had previously been denied due to lineage...namely when all worthy males were allowed to hold the priesthood as stated in the D&C. But never has He allowed blessings to be given someone or a group of people that were not living in concert with His teachings.

I am sure you are familiar with The Family: A Proclamation To The World. It plainly states the Lord's views on the lifestyle you have chosen. One of the greatest teachings of the restored gospel is that we know everyone has been given the gift of Free Agency. This is a fundamental teaching of the gospel. The Lord does not control our thoughts nor our actions. Neither does He create anything in contradiction to His Plan of Salvation. This is where the Gift of the Holy Ghost comes in handy...it is the only way we can know if we are living in Obedience to His laws. Without this Gift we are alone in this world left to our own understanding and we can not know the Peace that comes from living the gospel.

None of this is new to you. You've heard it all before I'm sure, but again I only write these things out of love. I know nothing I say will change the way you feel. We definitely disagree on this issue, but I can't control the way you feel and it's not my desire to convince you otherwise. I simply know the things I believe to be true. Not because the church says it is so, but because the Spirit has confirmed the essential truths of the gospel to my heart with such Power that I can not deny them. I know they have been confirmed to you as well...I was there! I too have had struggles in my life that have been extremely hard to overcome. I don't know that I will ever be without struggles and trials, but I know with the Lord's help I can overcome all.

One day maybe you will say, 'Perhaps someday, in the Lord's time, He will reveal a new understanding to me that might perhaps permit my return to His church; I sincerely pray for that day to come.' I do sincerely pray for that day to come. I wish you the most joyous of Holidays and hope you had a Happy Thanksgiving. I will always count you as my friend. It was not my intention to offend you in any way so I hope you did not take offense to what was written. You are a kind and generous person and I will always think of you that way.

Let me leave you with the following quote: "Like those who were alive at the time of His mortal ministry, there are some among us who look for physical peace and prosperity as signs of the Savior's wondrous power. We sometimes fail to understand that the everlasting peace Jesus promises is an inner peace, born in faith, anchored by testimony, nurtured with love, and expressed through continual obedience and repentance. It is a peace of spirit that echoes through the heart and the soul. If one truly knows and experiences this inner peace, there is no fear from worldly disharmony or discord. One knows deep down inside that all is well as far as the things that really matter are concerned." (M. Russell Ballard, "The Peaceable Things of the Kingdom," Ensign, May 2002, 87)

Your friend,

Nathan


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